Social Media & US Shopping Habits Study

Social Media & US Shopping Habits Study

Did you just pay $100+ for a cup? You’ve been influenced. We can laugh all day long at “influencers in the wild” posts as they silently prance around a train with a phone in hand (queue “22, I’m in Paris, baby”), but they’re on to something. Love them or hate them, influencers are shaping the way we purchase, well, everything. From grocery hauls to smearing snail mucus on our faces, influencers are influencing. 

Who is succumbing to influencer products the most? We looked across America to discover the most influenceable cities, states, and more. We also analyzed the most popular hauls and those we’re leaving behind (looking at you, Temu). Finally, we look at the products and industries most likely to persuade us to buy, namely Trader Joe’s hidden gems and Stanley Tumblers.

Highlights:

Americans spend, on average, $36.11 per month on influencer-inspired purchases

Nevada leads as the most “influenced state” with 88% regular social media purchases

48% of clothing purchased is a direct result of influencer content or ads

Groceries are seeing one of the biggest effects with 40% of respondents buying food following influencer content and 35% claiming to watch grocery hauls

Most influenceable states across the US

We wanted to know which US states were scrolling Amazon like it was their full-time job. These are the people who watch a reel and, like a knee-jerk reaction, add to cart. As it turns out, some states make more influencer-inspired purchases than others and it’s not what you’d think. 

Officially, the Nevada slogan is “All for our country,” but off the record, we could coin it “an online shoppers paradise.” Why? Nevada comes into first place for making the most purchases from influencer content. 88% of Nevadans said they regularly buy things online that they’d learned about through influencer ads or content. So to say, only 12% of Nevadans aren’t falling trap to the grips of influencer products.

On the other side of the country too, Americans are hitting the “virtual” stores thanks to influencers. Kentucky came in second place for the most influencer-inspired online purchases at 86.6%, just behind Nevada. With 61% of these Kentucky consumers getting their content mostly from YouTube, we can go out on a limb and presume it’s a form of entertainment as well. With YouTube offering more long-form content in contrast to its other social media counterparts, we could see why it’s a favored platform for influencers hoping to make a buck. 

The competition was fierce for third place with Louisiana and Missouri coming to a tie. Both southern states are keen on social media purchases with 83% of respondents saying they regularly buy products from influencers they follow. 

On the flip side of things, some states are turning against influencer consumerism. Hawaii, Idaho, and Montana all tie for the bottom three least influenceable states, with these places only averaging less than $7 on influencer-inspired products per month. Take that, Amazon! 

What Americans are buying off social media

Scrolling through the feed and spending some cash seems to be a universal experience, but are we all buying the same stuff? In the dawn of the “As Seen On TV” commercials, everyone had a Shake Weight, Snuggie, George Foreman Grill, or all of the above if you came from one of those households. Cha-ching, internet bling!

On the whole, the largest dominating influencer-back industry is fashion. If the Shein-sponsored trip to China taught us anything, brands know that’s where the eyes are. Gone are the days when a front-of-store mannequin dictates what’s in and what’s out, we’re turning towards our screens to see what and who to buy from. Of all the product purchases made by social media users, 48% were clothing purchases. 

Interestingly enough, everything down to the food on our plates is “influenced”. A surprising 40% of influencer-inspired purchases were food. Even grocery stores are getting behind the influencer craze, with TikTok personalities sharing videos like “Whole Foods must-haves” and recipes calling for specific, name-brand items. Almost a quarter of those buying food products after seeing influencer content are no other than… millennials. 20% of millennials make up the influencer/food purchases at large. Can we blame the avocado toast boom on millennial influencers? Perhaps.

Battle of the Sexes: What women vs. men purchase from influencers

Influencer-inspired spending has largely (and wrongly) been seen as a female-only space. With products like makeup, skincare, and fashion dominating the influencer space, it might make sense, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Quite simply: men are buying too.

65% of male respondents said they have made an online purchase following something they saw from an influencer (compared to the female 80%). Although women have a 15% lead in frequency of purchase, men are making bigger purchases. On average, male respondents spend 30% more than women on influencer-inspired products. 

And what are those products exactly? Men and women alike elected fashion then food as their top influencer-inspired purchases, but third place is where it diverges. Women opt for skincare (22%) and men make fitness purchases from their favorite influencers (17%). Gym bros are taking to the online masses it seems!

These are America’s favorite platforms for influencer purchases (and no, it’s not TikTok)

If TikTok dances could be packaged and put in a box, someone would buy it. TikTok, although vast and chock full of content, is not the center of spending. The number one platform for buying products was YouTube by 31%. TikTok placed second at 27% then Instagram at 24%. Other platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, and Twitter fell below the ranks. 

America’s favorite hauls

Ah, the haul. For some, a haul is the new American dream: buying in bulk a bunch of stuff you probably don’t need and then telling the internet about it. As influencers dump a trash can full amount of single-use clothing on their bed, we eagerly watch and fill our shopping carts or, at least, get some kind of entertainment out of it. So what are the haul favorites of the nation? The results are as follows:

Amazon hauls – 48%

Grocery hauls – 35%

Clothing hauls – 29%

Target hauls – 28%

It seems influencers are the biggest helpers when it comes to navigating Amazon’s 350 million-product catalog. Honorable mentions included: Sephora/Ulta hauls, Shein hauls, Temu hauls, and Tech hauls. 

Summary

Have you been influenced? If so, you’re in the 74% majority of Americans who make purchases after seeing influencer-inspired products. With 4.8 billion social media users online, it only makes sense that shopping has found its way into the craze. Between Amazon hauls and influencers’ very own brands (cough cough anything Kardashian), it’s clear that influencer products are here to stay. So raise your Stanley Cup and cheers to one-day delivery! 

Methodology

We surveyed over 3,000 Americans in January 2024 about their online shopping and social media habits. The age range was between 18-65 with all participants residing in the United States. Just over half — 52% — were female, 42% were male, 4% identified as trans or non-binary, and 1% listed “other”.

Fair Use

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Author: Gerald Griffin